How to Hand Trowel a Smooth Finish on Concrete

using a hand trowel on concrete
What You'll Need
Concrete mix
Hand trowel
A knee board

Hand trowels are convenient and handy tools to use when you want to finish concrete well. However it must be kept in mind that hand trowels can be used to finish concrete only if the area is not too large and can be conveniently handled. Paths, patios, counter tops, and the like can easily be be provided with a smooth finish using hand trowels. Using hand trowels has an advantage of being inexpensive and is a single man job. Hand trowels are very cheap to acquire and can be bought from any hardware store. However, there are many types of hand trowels and one should be chosen carefully to finish concrete to perfection.

Step 1 - Buy the Hand Trowels and Knee Board

Hand trowels and knee boards are not difficult to acquire. Various varieties of hand trowels are available at all hardware stores. You need to buy something that is convenient for you to use and is comfortable in your hands. Hand trowels also come in the form of squeegees and are used to lay thick layers of concrete evenly and smoothly. Magic Trowel is another hand trowel that is much preferred by handymen for its ease of use and smooth running over concrete. Knee boards can be used when you want to finish concrete on your knees. Knee boards prevent the wet concrete from getting knee impressions and keeps the concrete flat and smooth.

Step 2 - Pour the Concrete Mix

wheelbarrow holding mortar and a hoe

Pour the concrete mix over the area you want to work on. Lay the concrete in a small area first. Make sure you do not dump all of it in the same place in a mound. Tip the concrete from the bucket in a left and right motion, over the work area, so that quantity laid is not too thick. It is a better idea to discharge the concrete on the edge of the area you are working on so it is easy for you to get started with the hand trowel and you get the feel of smoothing the concrete.

Step 3 - Use the Hand Trowels

After the concrete mix has been tipped off on the work area, start with the hand trowels to smooth out the concrete. It is advised that you start by working on your knees as it gives you a better balance and makes the job easier. Take the hand trowels and swipe them over the concrete so that it lays out more smoothly over the flat surface. Repeat the motion, moving left to right, until the concrete is even with the surface and there are no lumps in it. Later on, when you move away from the edge of the concrete, use the knee boards to keep you from destroying the hard work you have put in smoothing out the concrete.

Step 4 - Finish up

two people using trowels to smooth out concrete

When you have smoothed out the whole surface, let the concrete dry off for a little while. When the concrete has hardened into a more tight formation, take the hand trowel and use its edge to swipe across the surface. This evens out any hairline fractures that may have appeared in the concrete due to excessive water concentration. Let the concrete dry completely before taking any further steps on your work surface.